After deciding to ditch their after prom party, six high school friends find themselves prey to a sadistic killer when they have their own party at a secluded lake house in the woods.
Party Night doesn’t set out to reinvent the slasher film or break new ground in a sub genre that has played by the rules it created for itself over 35 years ago. It instead is a loving tribute to all those teenage kill fests with a homicidal maniac on the loose that featured eye catching VHS art we couldn’t stop glancing at during those trips to the video store as kids (or adults) back in the day. Writer and director Troy Escamilla demonstrates in Party Night that he is clearly well acquainted with these films.
First and foremost I have to give major recognition to the cast. All six of the high school friends have that “All-American Boy/Girl” feel, participating in an All-American tradition: the high school prom. I loved watching this group onscreen. The chemistry between them was spot on, and they all demonstrated impressive acting ability. Laurel Toupal as Amy and Drew Shotwell as Nelson are stand outs and have a real natural ability.
But the real star is Laurel Toupal. Her performance is a remarkable mix of Jamie Lee Curtis and Amy Steel. She’s simply incredible in this and is an absolute star in the making. Keep an eye on her.
There’s a scene early on that shows the 3 girls walking down the street after school, and it has a fantastic Halloween vibe to it. This scene is an example of how the rest of the film plays out as the group of doomed high schoolers head to the lake house after prom. It’s an entertaining and fun time that successfully captures the feel of those old “cheesy” slasher flicks, as one of the characters playfully refers to them.
There’s lots of spilled blood and wonderfully done makeup effects by Heather Benson. Her effects and talent are on full display in Party Night, and she does a fantastic job as all the kills look high quality and impressive. The picture looks timeless and slightly soft and faded to resemble the heyday of the slasher genre, and the music is a wonderful fit for the youthful energy and carnage that mixes onscreen.
The one disappointment I had with the film was the look of the killer. I found the light jacket he wore to be a bit anticlimactic. The white and blue two tone of it seemed to be an odd choice and didn’t quite mesh well with his actions. Perhaps it’s a picky observation, but it’s one that distracted me enough to mention it.
Kudos to first time writer and director Troy Escamilla for crafting a fun and bloody homage to the slasher flicks of the 1980s and assembling a great technical cast and group of actors.
PARTY NIGHT is good old fashioned horror fun and introduces fans to a number of new potential stars and filmmaker. Grab some beers at midnight and check out PARTY NIGHT. It’s a good time and a lot of fun — just like those old cheesy VHS slasher flicks from the 80s.